Did You Know…16

I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the unusual instances of celebrity deaths that seem to come in three’s. The most recent proof being the passing of Robyn Williams, Lauren Bacall, and Joan Rivers. It’s kind of hard to argue against this when it has happened repeatedly over time. Admittedly, I’ve heard this old adage for as long as I can remember, never really paying much attention to it until entering into my adult life. I began to notice that there seemed to be some truth to this “Hollywood” affliction. With the recent barrage of deaths, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the so-called Celebrity Death Rule of Three.

    • Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper all crashed and died simultaneously in an Iowa cornfield on February 3, 1959. Not since their untimely deaths, has the Celebrity Death Rule of Three happen so quickly, according to an article by Dave Montgomery of the Washing Post on June 30, 2009. Further instances may not have happened as quickly, but they certainly did happen.
    • The earliest instance was recorded as far back as late 1970 to early 1971. It has been documented that rock star royals Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all died in close time proximity. *Unbelievably, all three of these rock legends died at the age of 27. This is both remarkable and peculiar within itself. (Another post perhaps)
    • In June of 2009, the deadly trifecta, if you will, made an appearance again. Ed McMahaon passed away on June 23, 2009, mega-celebrities Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, both died on the same day, June 25, 2009. The media clearly struggled to bring some type of balance to its reporting on each of these stars. I’m willing to bet the media never imagined they’d be scrambling to cover such broad careers simultaneously, to say the least.
    • During the summer of 2013, the triage of death occurred again with the death of infamous Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Sopranos star, James Gandolfini, and actress Jean Stapleton(known for her role as Edith Bunker on All in the Family).

Again, it is hard to argue the existence of the alleged Celebrity Death Rule of Three when as you can see, there certainly are enough occurrences to support otherwise. Myth or pure coincidence? You be the judge…

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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When Blood and Water Meet…

   

Almost everyone knows the saying, “blood is thicker than water”. In many cases, this is true. Blood, representative of our familial ties, while water represents those close friends and extended family. Some might believe that there is no bond stronger than that of blood family and that is often true. However, there are instances where this statement can be challenged.

As I’m watching the television coverage of the funeral service of the latest ‘fallen officer’, Daryl Pierson, in the city of Rochester New York, it has become evident that ‘water’ is not only thick and dense, but runs deep, far and wide. I am thoroughly amazed, impressed and touched at the amount of support, presence, and solidarity being displayed at his funeral service, with the attendance of thousands of police officers from all over the country that have come to this city to pay their last respects to Officer Pierson, who lost his life last Wednesday night September 3, 2014 during a foot chase of a wanted parolee.

I recall sitting on my bed last Wednesday night when at least 3 to 4 vehicles came flying past my house. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there’s a sound that law enforcement vehicles make when they’re traveling at top speeds. It’s as almost as if the vehicles are riding on top of the air; an unmistakeable sound that makes me privy to police presence every time one passes through my neighborhood at break-neck speeds. I wondered what could have possibly happened, but didn’t give it a whole lot of thought as it is a sound I’ve heard on many occasions. About 30 minutes later, a breaking news flash burst across my t.v. screen. The report said that both an officer and a suspect had been wounded during a traffic stop and that both had been taken to area hospitals. I was immediately relieved that no one had died, at least at that point. I said a little prayer for both. Somewhere around 11:00p.m. I believe, it was then reported on the evening news that Officer Pierson had succumbed to his injuries. I was stricken with so much sadness and heart-wrenching emotion at this sobering development. An officer had lost his life in the line of duty and there was no reversing the outcome, no turning back. How I wished I could rewind back to hours before those police cars had come riding like the wind past my house.

As a city, we could take on the view that too much is being made out of this incident because an officer lost his life. Or, we could show some human compassion and be respectful of the loss of life, as I would hope we would be for any other, regardless of their ‘walk of life’. I was proud to see a few interviews where Rochester residents seemed to agree that whether an officer of the law or not, a person died. Officer Darryl Pierson was a human being, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an officer of the law. He even served a year in the war in Afghanistan. I can’t help but notice the cruel twist of fate that allowed him to survive the danger of a seemingly never-ending war, only to return to his home in Rochester New York, and lose his life. Officer Pierson received a hero’s send-off; twenty one gun salute and all. There were even fully-attired, kilt-wearing, bagpipe playing attendees. I have much admiration for Officer Pierson’s widow, Amy Pierson, who displayed such control and poise in light of an event that has changed her life forever. My prayers go out to the Pierson family and all those related, near and far, as blood and water meet, coming together to make one hugely supportive and impressive family. Rest in peace Officer Pierson.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

My First Posting: About Me

Please join me in welcoming my friend Justin Connor to the blogging world. He is a great photographer and I’ve just discovered that he’s a darn good writer also! Enjoy!

justinconnorphotography

IMG_5321 - Version 2

My name is Justin Connor.  I have been taking pictures since I was 12 years old.  My father was an amateur photographer and I took after him, grabbing a camera whenever I could and taking shots.  I took some Photography classes in High School and even entertained trying to go to College for Photography.  In the end, I decided it was not a great career choice, and went to College for Physical Therapy.

My father gave me a Canon AE-1 for my high school graduation and I continued to do Photography as a hobby.  I continued to try to get out and take photos through College and after, even trying to take some portraits of my wife, but I quickly realized portrait photography was not my forte.  I have always been much better at Landscape Photography.  I have always been drawn to Waterfalls, for some reason, and until recently, nearly half of my…

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The 3rd Time is Not a Charm

 

The third time is definitely not a charm. It has often been said that when members of the Hollywood elite pass away, their deaths come in threes. By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard that Joan Alexandra Molinsky, most infamously known as Joan Rivers, her stage name, has passed away at the age of 81. She completes the the latest trio of Hollywood deaths; most recently, Robyn Williams and Lauren Bacall(please see previous posts). Her career spanned an amazing 50 years; truly an accomplishment. One can only imagine the stories that have passed on with this extraordinary woman, who possessed a personality as broad as the widest of oceans.

Joan Rivers had to be one of the hardest working women, if not the hardest working woman in show business. She never seemed to tire and even maintained a rigorous schedule right up until her death. It is as though she had and endless source from which to draw from, in order to deliver her signature in-your-face ‘dry humor’ that was so characteristic of her authentic style. Somehow she managed to deliver a great deal of her comedic onslaught without barely cracking a smile; another feat within itself.

She was a die-hard New York native, who came into show business with hopes of planting her feet firmly in a theatrical career. Comedy just happened to be a viable means to pay her bills at the time while she auditioned for acting roles. Comedy came natural to Joan and seemed to fit her like a good-fitting shoe. In 1965, she received her first booking on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson who reportedly told her, “God, you’re funny.” Her good fortune of landing this gig and a seemingly inexhaustible work ethic drove her as she continued to write, test and tweak her jokes.

In the mid-1980s, Joan Rivers came face to face with a life-affecting crisis. Her husband of 23 years, Edgar Rosenberg, committed suicide in 1987, following her firing from her late night talk show, which he produced. According to Rivers, the failing show was a major player in her husband’s suicide. The fallout of these events also contributed to the derailing of her career for a brief time. Comedy was both her calling and her therapy. She used laughter to get through the tough times and was often the ‘butt’ of her own jokes. One of the best therapies of all…laughter of self and few did it better.

Joan Rivers was the face of “Fashion Police” on the E Network and starred with her daughter Melissa in a reality show called: Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? I was a fan of Ms Rivers and will always remember her for her for relentless barage of comedic attacks on the many bystanders that waited anxiously to die laughing in the midst of her witty banter. Rest in peace dear Joan. You will indeed be missed.

***Sidebar: I was pleasantly surprised to learn after all these years of watching Joan Rivers, that she and I share the same birthday, June 8th. Wow! You just never know!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

When My Inner Voice Speaks

I usually speak to my mom each night before I go to bed. It’s funny…it’s seems that no matter how old I get, there’s still a kind of comfort that can only come from that one, all-important phone call to end my nights properly. My mom asked, as she usually does on Saturday night, if I was going to church the next morning. I said that I was pretty sure that I would not be attending. My mom accepted my answer with no fuss or muss as we both agreed that we would speak in the morning before she left home for service.

Well, I couldn’t agree with that old adage more, that says something about the best laid plans not always working out. When I woke up this morning, I became immediately convicted about my decision to stay home and not go to church. After all, there really wasn’t anything that I had to do that should get in the way of my going. But my original plan was to take a shower, get dressed, make myself some breakfast, and then sit on the side of my bed, (as I often do) and either envelop myself in the computer or a book that I am trying so diligently to complete. Now, to you, the reader, these plans may not seem like anything dire or anything that has to be done with any kind of urgency on a lovely Sunday morning, such as this one that I have again been so blessed to wake up to. Yet, it was my original quest to do each of these non-critical things.

However, once my feet hit the cold hardwood floors of my bedroom, and the warm sunlight streamed in to bid me good morning, I automatically walked over to my closet to figure out what I was going to wear to church. Yes, just like that, my best-laid plans had changed, within an instant. I didn’t have to look very long to figure out what to wear and quickly began preparing to make my way to morning service. You may be wondering, what happened? I was determined to go in one direction, but quickly found myself headed in another.

You see, I couldn’t bring myself to sit idly by, not properly paying homage to my Father; the one who makes it possible for me to open my eyes every day and take in my precious surroundings. God has been showing me some really pivotal things lately, things that I cannot ignore. I’ve been learning to put every bit of my trust in him and his promise to provide for everything my heart desires. The world has been crashing down around me lately, one thing after the other. Things that the average person would wonder how they would manage to work through. I have truly been realizing, with shocking clarity, that no matter what happens, no matter how big or small the problems are that arise, God is always there and has never and will never let me down.

Worrying is the human thing to do, but what does it really accomplish? A headache maybe, an elevation in blood pressure? And oh, yes. Let’s not forget, much unnecessary stress. Worrying certainly doesn’t make the problems disappear. If anything, it seems to exacerbate them. Who needs that, right? It’s a beautiful thing when I came to realize that putting my trust in God is the worry-free option that can move all the mountains that seem to be forming around me. I can only sit in awe and marvel at the profound blessings that God has bestowed upon me. But I had to first learn to cast all my worries and cares upon him. Admittedly, I’m not perfect and don’t always do this, as the human side randomly rears it’s fickle head from time to time.

I said all that to say this. I’m so glad that I listened to my inner voice as it is always speaking to me, ever so subtlety. It was so wonderful to fellowship and commune with others. Attending church is one of the ways I say “thank you” to God, for all that He does in my life. I can now sit on the side of my bed, envelop myself in the computer, or go back to reading that book I’m trying so diligently to complete, and do it all with a clear conscience. My new quest…to listen to my inner voice when it’s speaking. It usually has something very important to say; something I need to heed!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(15)

Learning another language may be pivotal in fending off dementia. Evidently, there is a link between this debilitating brain disease and language skills.

    • Previous studies have found that even furthering learning/education and/or participating in cognitive and mentally challenging activities, may reduce the onset of dementia. This study also revealed that even people who could not read, but spoke two languages, seemed to have an advantage against the disease as opposed to those who spoke one language.
    • The author and researcher of the study, Dr. Suvarna Alladi, at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India says, “Our study is the first to report an advantage of speaking two languages in people who are unable to read. Speaking more than one language is thought to lead to better development of the areas of the brain that handle executive functions and attention tasks, which may help protect from the onset of dementia.
    • It is estimated that one in three U.S. Seniors are expected to die with dementia.
    • The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s.
    • Approximately 650 people from India were recruited for the study. The average age was 66 and these individuals had already been diagnosed with dementia prior. An estimated 390 spoke two or more languages, while 14 percent were unable to read.
    • The languages spoken in India where the study was conducted included: Telegu, Hindi, Dakkhini, and English. The majority of these patients (240) already had Alzheimer’s disease, 189 had vascular dementia, 116 had frontotemporal dementia, and 103 had dementia with Lewy bodies and mixed dementia.
    • Damage to the brain cells causes dementia, no matter what type. This damage, then hinders the cells ability to communicate with each other. As a result, thinking, behavior, and feelings are all affected, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

***Personally, I used to really enjoy taking French in junior high school and Spanish in high school. Who knew at the time, that these learning these languages, could prove to be healthy advantageous down the road? It may be a good idea to consider picking up at least one of these languages again. Just saying….

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(14)

While watching the evening news, I happened to catch a brief segment on the subject of my beloved cursive writing. I was pleasantly surprised to find that some fourth graders in Kendall New York, also share my passion for this subject. According to this segment that aired on 13WHAM News earlier this evening, some eager students have made their desire to learn cursive writing known and have made quite an impressive case. This instance immediately took me back to a previous article I posted on 6/8/14 that focused on this very subject. Please see the link: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/cursively-speaking/

    • New York is 1 of 41 states that does not require students to learn cursive writing. I was amazed at the number of states that no longer have this requirement.
    • Some children in Kendall New York are determined to learn this ‘lost’ art form regardless. A fourth grader by the name of Cameron and his friends are making quite the fuss about the subject.
    • Common Core Standards do not require cursive instruction which is why it is no longer taught.

    • There are some states that are considering mandating instruction. Unfortunately, New York state is not of those.

When asked why he wanted to learn to cursive write, Cameron said that he wants to know how to write and sign checks, sign his legal name, and to write quickly. How impressive for a fourth grader. They even went as far as to make posters to aide their presentation to the school board, which was very much appreciated by the school principal, Sharon Smith. Cameron and his friends definitely seem to have a handle on the importance of learning to cursive write and it’s crucial role in their future functionality. I couldn’t agree with them more and wish them well in their ‘quest to learn cursive’.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know…(13)

Lately, I’ve been very intrigued by the cinquain verse and have written quite a few poems in this unique form. You can find my cinquain attempts as well as the innovator of this form at: http://sylviaiswriting.wordpress.com. I had a comment on one of the cinquains I wrote called “Old Boots”, where it was brought to my attention who developed this beautiful verse form.

The American cinquain was developed by Adelaide Crapsey who passed away on October 8, 1914 at the age of 36. She was a Brooklyn New York-born poet who was raised in Rochester New York (Upstate), my neck of the woods. Adelaide was the daughter of Adelaide T. Crapsey and Algernon Sidney Crapsey, an Episcopal priest. Prior to her death, she became reputable and widely recognized for the creative variation of the cinquain (quintain) which consists of a 5-line format with 22 syllables.

This style was largely influenced by the Japanese haiku and tanka. Adelaide’s 5-line form (now know as an American cinquain), has a common iambic meter which translates as one-stress, two stress, three stress, four stress and then reverts promptly back to one stress. This cinquain form usually contains 2 syllables in the 1st and last line, 4,6 and 8 syllables in the middle lines.

*Sidebar: Did you know that world-renowned poet, Carl Sandburg was said to have been the reason for the ongoing interest in the cinquain and kept Adelaide Crapsey from becoming insignificant with his poem “Adelaide Crapsey”? Incidentally, Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe were very good friends. It’s amazing the surprising ways in which people are connected and how close to home these connections sometimes hit.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(12)

What do Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, James Earl James, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis all have in common, aside from the fact that they are all famous? Well, they all suffered from stuttering at some point. Yes, each of these very accomplished individuals suffered at some time or other from a speech impediment, stuttering.

    • Marilyn Monroe‘s sensual breathy way of “mouthing” and speaking may have been her way of coping with stuttering. In a rare interview, Marilyn said that she would just suddenly begin to stutter at different times which she believed was triggered by feelings of nervousness and anxiety. *A long time acting coach advised her to speak in this over- exaggerated fashion as part of a tool/technique to help improve her acting.
    • There are still many arguments as to whether or not Winston Churchill actually had a stutter or a lisp, in which the “s” sounds like “sh”. Either way, it certainly didn’t stop him from being a most affective and infamous orator.
    • James Earl Jones spoke with Sarah Hartley, Mail on Sunday Health Editor, and was quoted as saying, “My stuttering was so bad, I barely spoke to anyone for eight years.” Evidently, sinusitis plagued him early on as well as many of his family members. This contributed to frequent instances of congestion which is believed to have impacted his issues with speech. Can you imagine missing out on a such a treat as the voice of James Earl Jones? Thankfully, we’ve been blessed to enjoy his wonderfully rich and robust voice by way of characters like “Darth Vader” in ‘Star Wars’ and “Mufasa” in the ‘Lion King’, just to name a few.
    • In an interview with Krishnan Guru Murthy, Samuel L. Jackson was said to have pretended, as a young boy in Tennessee, to be other people by creating characters who didn’t stutter, in hopes that he wouldn’t stutter. There’s a particular word of profanity that he is known to use in many of his movies. Apparently, Mr. Jackson mutters this world daily under his breath, as a kind of affirmation. Evidently, it works. Who would have thought that profanity would be a saving grace in an actor’s career and life? I won’t spell out this word, but lets just say, the initials are: MF
    • Bruce Willis once disclosed in an issue of GQ Magazine, that he had a terrible stutter that was so bad, he considered it to be a disability. He also says that ‘acting’ helped to cure his stutter. And thankfully so. Wow! Who knew?!

Stuttering is thought to be a neurological impairment of the brain, and is said to occur in children, mostly boys between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age. There’s another interesting fact about this subject that I simply must share before closing this post. I had both a lisp and a stutter as a young child. My friends have a hard time believing me, as they tend to feel that I speak with perfect diction, but is true. I can vaguely recall how frustrating it used to be for me, as I struggled to get my words out. Hey, I think I feel another post developing! Hmmm…what do you think?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Another Farewell to Hollywood Royalty

Another Hollywood legend has made an untimely exit. Lauren Bacall has died at the age of 89. According to CNN reports, her grandson received a call earlier today saying that she had suffered a massive stroke.

Lauren Bacall tasted international fame in 1944 starring in the film: “To Have and Have Not”. She made this film with her soon-to-be husband Humphrey Bogart. The two later married and had two children. This dynamic duo starred in a total of four films which included: “The Big Sleep” (1946), “Dark Passage” (1947), “Key Largo” (1948). Together Bogart and Bacall created a unique magic that was all theirs. Humphrey Bogart died in 1957, leaving Bacall a widowed mother of two children.

Lauren Bacall was later married to actor Jason Robards at which point they had a child together, who later became an actor, Sam Robards. Bacall was said to have been engaged to Frank Sinatra four different times between marriages.

It’s hard to believe that during some of those beautiful black & white shots of Lauren Bacall, that she was a shy 19 year old trying to keep it together amidst all the attention. American Film Director, Howard Hawks’ wife is credited with discovering Bacall after she appeared on the cover of Harpers Bazaar. She modeled to earn extra money and also earned, and rightfully so, the term “The Look”. She was a classic, vintage beauty with a deep, sultry tone that was unmistakable. Lauren Bacall, a true Hollywood beauty, no further description needed. One of my favorite films in which she graced the ‘big screen’ with her presence, is called “Written on the Wind”. Everything about this movie mesmerizes me, from the opening music, to the color and wardrobe, plot and story, acting, etc. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Lauren Bacall, the second actor to die within the last 24 hours, the first of course being Robin Williams. It has often been said that when Hollywood actors/actresses pass away, death usually comes in three’s. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen more than once and I pray that this isn’t the case now. R.I.P. Regal and classy lady. In the infamous words of Humphrey Bogart, “Here’s looking at you kid”.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

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